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AlphaGo
The game Go is among the most complex in the world. Played with small black and white stones on a 19-by-19 grid, there are-famously-more possible sequences of play than there are atoms in the visible universe. Treated as an art in parts of East Asia, the game is said to be mastered only by those with finely tuned instincts and intuition. Could a computer program replicate those qualities? The technology company Deep Mind sought to find out, developing AlphaGo in the hope that it could defeat the best players in the world. In March 2016, a thrilling match-up along the lines of Deep Blue vs. Garry Kasparov pitted the program against Korean Go champion Lee Sedol in a five-game series. Filled with fascinating personalities-from the brilliant but exceedingly humble Sedol to the breathlessly enthusiastic commentators that cover the big match-AlphaGo creates a surprisingly gripping man-against-machine narrative that may just have you cheering the outcome of a quiet, contemplative board
Sat, Oct 7 11:30 AM
Wed, Oct 11 12:00 PM
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Andre: The Voice of Wine
California wine drinkers, raise a glass to Andre Tchelistcheff! A Russian émigré who came to be known as the dean of American wine, Andre would leave a legacy deeply entwined with the California wine industry and its rise to international legitimacy. Director Mark Tchelistcheff, Andre’s grandnephew, crafts a cinematic portrait that is very much like the man himself: at once dramatic, poetic, humorous, and inspiring. The child of an aristocratic family who narrowly escaped Russia’s revolution and civil war, Andre lived a life of singular purpose. Equal parts scientist and artist, the winemaker revolutionized the US wine industry through his work in helping Napa’s Beaulieu Vineyard move into the post-Prohibition marketplace. Andre’s epic journey through the upheavals of the early 20th century and into a career that influenced the world’s most important winemakers is explored here in personal interviews that reveal a philosophy a
Mon, Oct 9 6:45 PM
Fri, Oct 13 1:00 PM
Sat, Oct 14 6:15 PM
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Arrangiarsi (Pizza... & the Art of Living)
From the Bay Area to Italy, Matteo Troncone searches for the meaning of life in this engaging, intimate documentary. Is it any surprise to discover that pizza is the answer? Writer, director, cinematographer, editor, and star Troncone begins his fascinating and philosophical first-person travelogue with no job, no relationship, and no home. While living in his VW van on the streets of Mill Valley, he decides there is only one thing to do: trace his roots to Naples and learn how to make pizza. Once there, he discovers the art of Arrangiarsi, the process of arranging yourself to make something from nothing. We meet a colorful crew of characters, from street artists to pizza makers, who find a way to live and love in the most joyful ways, regardless of circumstance. This delightful documentary combines a healthy smattering of foodie passion, intense Italian history, and quirky Neapolitans to tell the tale of one man’s journey to find himself, and the greatest pizza on earth.
Sun, Oct 8 5:30 PM
Thu, Oct 12 11:30 AM
Fri, Oct 13 3:15 PM
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City of Joy
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country rich in minerals. The multinational companies that buy these minerals fund militias to plunder the mines, and these men are responsible for unprecedented sexualized violence, millions of murders, and 20 years of war. One town, Bukavu, in eastern DRC, has grown from 50,000 to over a million, its population swelling with refugees. In it stands the City of Joy, a sanctuary for female victims of the brutality. Here they are medically treated, housed, educated (with the help of Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler), and transformed from victims into leaders against violence. Madeleine Gavin's enthralling documentary, which transmutes unimaginable horror into joy and empowerment, follows the story of one woman who will not let the appalling violence destroy her. As part of the first class of students at the City of Joy, Jane embodies the co-founders' hard-fought-and extremely risky-vision for the future of women who reclaim their bod
Sun, Oct 8 6:00 PM
Tue, Oct 10 12:30 PM
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The Corridor
Orange may be the new black, but documentaries that take us behind real jailhouse walls can still provide revelations. What’s it like to go to school while incarcerated? It means that the tools in your bike repair class are locked to the table and that classrooms come equipped with panic buttons. It means that room assignments take gang affiliation into account. And it means that exposing your ignorance is seen as a weakness, “becoming prey,” as one inmate-student describes it, in a world of predators. These are just some of the challenges that face participants in the San Francisco Sheriff Department’s pioneering program to help inmates earn their GEDs. Local filmmakers Richard O’Connell and Annelise Wunderlich trace students’ progress from orientation to graduation in this timely and quietly provocative documentary. Observational footage of school and jail routine is supported by a soundtrack of articulate reflections from guards, teachers, and inmates. Intertitles of statistics unde
Sat, Oct 7 8:45 PM
Thu, Oct 12 10:00 AM
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Dealt
Don’t call Richard Turner a magician: He is a card mechanic, one who controls the outcome of a game better than anyone else in the world. “Magicians can’t do that,” says Turner. Winner of the audience award at SXSW this year, this dynamic documentary provides a close-up look at a true legend in the magic community and the limits he overcame to get to be at the top of the game. Turner, 62, is legally blind and began losing his sight as a young boy. Never without a deck of cards in his hands, he practices almost constantly; surrounded by his wife, son, and sister, he strives ceaselessly for perfection. But the man who knows how to do every trick in the book must learn that it’s OK to ask for help. This skillful portrait of a complex and colorful character is as inspiring and captivating as Turner’s sleight of hand.
Sun, Oct 8 1:00 PM
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Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Portraying a stubbornly independent spirit-and a legend among mountain climbers for generations-this lively documentary celebrates an exceptional life and chronicles the sublime thrill of ascending never-before-attained peaks. Well into his late 80s, Fred Beckey has yet to surrender his ropes and crampons as he continues to scale alpine walls. Animation, archival footage, and the stories spun by Beckey’s fellow climbers bring his past conquests, as well as his checkered history, to vivid life. Director Dave O’Leske charts the logistics and aesthetics of Beckey’s various lines of ascent, underlining his accomplishments and exposing a kind of beauty in the relationship between man and mountain face. Beckey’s lifestyle has been rough and ready, leaving a trail of awkward and abandoned relationships. But there is a sort of idiosyncratic glory to his individualism and refusal to give in to convention as he relentlessly pursues lofty new paths to surmount.
Fri, Oct 6 8:30 PM
Tue, Oct 10 8:30 PM
Fri, Oct 13 12:00 PM
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Earth Wisdom for a World in Crisis
FOCUS: STEWARDS OF THE EARTH At this urgent time of climate change, indigenous people around the globe hold untapped wisdom and experience in human adaptation for survival. Will international leaders heed our native brothers and sisters and learn how to live sustainably before it’s too late? In this episode of the Global Spirit series, Emmy-winning local filmmaker Stephen Olsson focuses on indigenous leaders and tribal representatives who come together at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Living in reciprocity with nature, they know how to spiritually and materially restore harmony and balance after destruction of land and water. Indigenous wisdom keepers and non-native allies gathered as the prophesied Rainbow Tribe to nonviolently protect the water at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where they slowed progress of the Dakota Access Pipe Line, the foretold Black Snake. Here, and at the UN, they are the voice of the earth. Time to listen.
Fri, Oct 6 2:00 PM
Fri, Oct 13 6:15 PM
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Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution
FOCUS: STEWARDS OF THE EARTH Are we living at the dawn of a clean energy revolution, or will politicians and utility companies, entrenched in our fossil-fuel economy, keep that sun from rising? This question drives James Redford’s disarmingly personal and unpretentious documentary. A Marin County resident and award-winning filmmaker, Redford appears as a concerned, average Joe who just wants to know: Where does our power come from, and can renewable sources ever scale up to satisfy our needs? With a quiver of reasonable questions, Redford hopscotches the country, talking to mayors, activists, entrepreneurs, and executives in Utah, New York, Texas, California, and more. Refreshingly low-key, this documentary has no data-filled charts, ambush interviews, or strident sermons. Rather, it’s a rambling road trip-set to a congenial soundtrack by singer-songwriter (and Petaluma local) Sean Hayes-full of hopeful conversations with the everyday people who are making sure that revolution happens
Sat, Oct 7 12:00 PM
Mon, Oct 9 1:15 PM
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